Thank you for your editorial last week praising Jay Hammond, the maverick Republican who was governor from 1974 to 1982. I agree that creating the Alaska Permanent Fund and the Kachemak Bay Critical Habitat Area were two major accomplishments.
I just finished his autobiography, “Tales of Alaska’s Bush Rat Governor.” I am impressed with how firmly he stuck to his principles that all of the citizens of Alaska should benefit directly from oil riches and that the state should reintroduce the state income tax.
Hammond fell in love with Alaska as a young man, and enjoyed many adventures as hunter, fisher, pilot and guide. He seemed to be happiest while he built and lived in his homestead near Lake Clark with his wife Bella. He respected the first people of Alaska and worked for every Alaskan. Your editorial recommends that our current governor and Legislature follow Hammond’s principles on resource development projects: Is it environmentally sound? Can it pay its own way? Did the majority of Alaskans desire the project? And will it contribute to the permanent fund?
Our current governor, Sean Parnell, has shown respect for Alaskans. For example, he spearheaded discussions and demonstrations to reduce sexual assault and domestic violence. I wonder if Gov. Parnell also will show courage and respect for Alaskans by asking Hammond’s questions about projects like the proposed Pebble mine in Bristol Bay, where Gov. Hammond spent most of his life?